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Over the past 2 days, I’ve had the pleasure to meet with 2 striking CEOs. One is very different from the other. The first is a serial entrepreneur, an expert in a field, and a veteran. The second is a first time CEO, young, thoughtful and open-minded. Each exhibits a very different leadership style, a very different approach to management.

Despite their differences, they share similarities. Each can articulate a vision for their companies and consistently voice that vision within and without the company. Both describe the act of management as a wonderful challenge. The struggles of hiring and firing. The stresses of decision-making. The satisfaction of building a positive culture. The feeling of building momentum.

The most effective leaders build momentum in their organizations. Momentum is different from inertia. Where inertia is movement without acceleration, momentum is the feeling of a company gaining acceleration, the feeling of a snowball gaining mass as it rolls down a hill, or catching a wave on a surf board. Great leaders create a vision, build teams and culture who share that vision and enable and empower those teams to realize the vision.

Momentum is a powerful thing. It’s created by setting an ambitious goal, measuring progress toward the goal and nailing it. Then repeating the process. Momentum is consistently meeting or exceeding expectations.

Great leaders know how to set the right goals that are just within the grasp of their teams. Setting goals and building the infrastructure to achieve them (capital, teams, vision, desire, passion) is the only job of the CEO.

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2 thoughts on “The only job of a CEO

  1. I would agree that goal setting is probably the most important single thing a CEO does since most other tasks can be handled by someone else to some degree. Fred Wilson had a great post about this topic:

    http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2010/08/what-a-ceo-does.html

    In it, he makes the argument that there are actually three jobs which I tend to agree with: (1) set vision and communicate it; (2) recruit/retain talent; and (3) ensure enough cash in bank.

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